“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” NRSV
As stated in this past Sunday’s message, the Holy Spirit is the “agency” of God, the life-force dedicated to accomplishing the will of God in the world. John called the Holy Spirit, the “Advocate,” or “Helper.” Here, Paul brings to light the Spirit’s role in our prayer life.
Centering prayer is a prayer practice that opens us to the Spirit’s help in “interceding with sighs too deep for words.” It is not about what we want to say to God. It is all about what God wants to awaken in us. That requires the practice of stillness in the presence of God. Centering prayer is the gateway to the contemplative life. Every Christian is invited into the contemplative life with God. The discipline it requires is difficult. So, instead of developing a prayer discipline, we fill the spiritual airwaves with words, telling God what God already knows, to make us look busy in our faith.
Now, I am not talking about true, intercessory prayer, here. Intercessory prayer helps us form a spiritual connection with the real needs around us. Intercessory prayer leads us to action, to work for justice or to hold a dying loved one’s hand in their waning moments of life. Intercessory is our way of taking seriously the many needs in the world around us.
The empty words of prayer I am referencing here are the prayers we pray to fix the things in our lives we are more than capable of fixing ourselves or the prayers of avoidance in the face of life’s realities, the tests of character.
Deepening one’s relationship with God begins with and requires a lot more listening than doing.
Be a blessing to someone today!